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The 1968 Hardy’s – It didn’t suck

Perhaps we should have headed to one of the nearby casinos last night. It takes a certain amount of luck to open seven bottles of Thomas Hardy’s Ale and find them all outstanding. Particularly when the last one is 40 years old.

Thomas Hardy's aleBy the time we got to the 1968 the sun had set on the Sandia Mountains — we drank these beers on our back portal — and the lights had come up in the Rio Grande Valley. We weren’t comparing how each beer looked in the glass or taking notes; instead talking about things friends talk about, although that certainly included the aromas and flavors from the succession of beers.

For the record, they were from 2003 (the first batch brewed at O’Hanlon’s), 1999 (the last batch brewed at Eldridge Pope), 1995, 1994, 1993, 1992 and then the 1968. [See yesterday’s post for details about how we got the 1968.]

Sorry, I don’t have a lot of adjectives for you. Perhaps that’s not in the spirit of blogging, but those are going to stay out there in the cool New Mexico air.

OK, since you guys pitched in with such friendly suggestions about dealing with the cork, just a few details. This was an “A” bottle, with the cork protruding from the top. When I gave it a gentle tug it broke off, leaving nicely solid cork in the neck.

That came out easily and cleanly with a corkscrew, emitting a surprising pop. We briefly discussed the implications — a little something wild going on after 40 years? First impressions included funky, adhesive and sewer water . . . but in a good way.

Within minutes those volatiles had faded. Still a lot going on in the glass, both great and not-so-great.

The best part? It sure as heck was still beer. And it sure as heck had soul.

5 Responses to The 1968 Hardy’s – It didn’t suck

  1. brewer a May 9, 2008 at 7:36 am #

    So does this get entered under 1968 vintage? I’m just worried that the database will be inaccurate if it doesn’t get it’s own listing. Especially since ’67 and ’69 were sooooo overrated.

  2. dave May 9, 2008 at 12:45 pm #

    whoops, you already linked there!

  3. dave May 9, 2008 at 12:46 pm #

    (Hmm, my first comment didn’t go through)

    This reminds me of a great post I read on Tomme Arthur’s blog. He got a smokey combination of soy sauce, cider and vinegar.

    Makes you wonder how the flavors change from year to year. I wonder when it’s peak was.

  4. dave May 9, 2008 at 12:48 pm #

    It’s glaringly obvious I didn’t read yesterday’s post.

  5. Stan Hieronymus May 9, 2008 at 12:52 pm #

    Makes you wonder how the flavors change from year to year. I wonder when it’s peak was.

    Smoke related, Daria kept getting the adhesive element, somewhat like an Islay whisky.

    When the beer was first brewed in 1968 it was a special, not planned as an annual, and the boast of “good for 25 years” seemed awfully bold. Lots of bottle to bottle variation, of course.

    We were kidding last night that it peaked last year and we shouldn’t have waited so long.

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